I want to help you to chant from the Torah.
We receive different kinds of sustenance from our metaphorical Jewish roots–spiritual, ethnic, religious, just as trees receive moisture, nutrition from their physical roots. Essential Jewish sources of nourishment can be found in ritual and study. We call our Torah a Tree of Life, an Etz Chaim. How do you want to tap in? Saying Kaddish to remember a loved one. Showing up at Shiva for a fellow CBJ member. Learning the meaning of prayers in the Siddur. Reading in Hebrew. Chanting Torah. I want to help you learn to chant verses of Torah.
Consider our weekly Torah Study. It brings the Torah text close, drawing on interpretation and traditional sources curated by our clergy, as participants develop their own point of view. The group contemplates each word and phrase of the Torah. Similarly, we can tap into the Hebrew and the music for another level of connection. Learning to chant verses of Torah is another way to open up direct participation in our living tradition of study.
So, you take a verse apart word by word, you can also study it note by note. It can seem impossible! It takes time, but it is doable. At a recent service, the students of the Adult B’nai Mitzvah class participated in leading a Shabbat Service. Many had never led a prayer, or chanted a text before. It was beautiful. After chanting Torah for the first time, student Astrid Rieber said, “Chanting Torah was great; it felt wonderful! I learned a lot, and I would love to do it again.”
If you know the V’ahavta you are already chanting verses of Torah. It is drawn directly from the Torah, (Deut. 6:5-9) and the tune we use to chant it is the music of Torah. The music, called trope, is a system that bolsters the meaning of the words in a sentence, and keeps the sense of the verse intact. Once you’ve teased these elements apart, you can familiarize yourself with the music and the text. Then you assemble the parts into a whole, and you are chanting Torah. One verse, or five or twenty, the method is the same.
It’s open to any Jewish adult. Whether you are a beginner, or want to brush up your skills, I want to help you to chant from the Torah. If you are intrigued, or you’d like to learn more, please get in touch with me.